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When the Sea Rises (2004)
"Quand la mer monte..." (original title)

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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 571 users   Metascore: 62/100
Reviews: 11 user | 20 critic | 8 from

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Title: When the Sea Rises (2004)

When the Sea Rises (2004) on IMDb 6.7/10

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6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Wim Willaert ...
Le policier
Jackie Berroyer ...
Le journaliste Béthune
Philippe Duquesne ...
Le patron du café des géants
Jacques Bonnaffé ...
Le serveur de bord de mer
Séverine Caneele ...
La femme de chambre
Le patron du marché
Catherine Routier ...
Femme du bord de la route 1
Martine Delanoy ...
Femme du bord de la route 2
Thérèse Flouquet ...
Femme du bord de la route 3
Jan Hammenecker ...
Vincent Mahieu ...
Jean-Marie Hardeman ...
Le pilier de bar
Nand Buyl ...
Le père de Dries


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Comedy | Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

27 October 2004 (France)  »

Also Known As:

When the Sea Rises  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$9,753 (USA) (13 January 2006)


$23,111 (USA) (17 March 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



| (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Irène: You shouldn't introduced me to your parents as your wife.
See more »


Featured in Humbert Balsan, producteur rebelle (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Quirky, intriguing romance
1 March 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

An attractive and unsettling film about how we act when placed in unfamiliar situations, and how relationships can creep up on us in spite of ourselves.

The characters are cleverly handled - the female lead, comedian/actress Irène, is touring Northern France with her one-woman show, in which she plays a hideously masked widow with a horrible secret. The show is ironically titled "A dirty business: sex and crime". Yet she appears comfortable in this role, and has a settled family life, evidenced in her cellphone conversations.

The male lead, on the other hand, despite his uncertain role in the conventional socio-economic matrix (he is frequently described as a "drifter" in many reviews), also challenges the viewer's easy assumptions by displaying strong moral, artistic and cultural roots. It is he who challenges himself by joining in Irène's show, and who ultimately displays the stronger moral sensibilities. He also has a sympathetic circle of friends, and a happy social life, which contrasts sharply with Irène's lonely hotel nights.

These complex characters retain our sympathy throughout, while continuing to unsettle us. Each of us, in our lives, whether we are like Irène or Dries, is only a choice (whether good or bad) away from entering a strange and possibly wonderful, possibly damaging relationship.

The quirky, alienating sets (including a steelworks and a Flemish giant-maker's workshop) and geographical location (straddling the Franco-Belgian border, where Flemish and French cultures overlap) add to the film's interest, and give it a powerful sense of place. Dries himself is a native Flemish (Dutch) speaker, and the return to his adoptive parents' house, which provides a brief (unsubtitled) plunge into the Dutch language, is bewildering for both the viewer as well as Irène (although the actress playing the character is herself half-Flemish).

Ultimately, the film is both sad and uplifting, and challenges our assumptions about the way we value individuals on the basis of their roles in society.

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